Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Michelin after the German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring:
Sensational seventh Sachsenring win for Marquez; Pedrosa fights back to sixth
A mix of pure talent, tactics, teamwork and a cool head earned Marc Marquez and the Repsol Honda Team one of the best wins in one of the most difficult, mixed-conditions races so far this season. Marc has therefore maintained his perfect record at the Sachsenring, winning the German GP from pole for the fourth year in a row in the premier class, the seventh across all classes, only leaving fellow Honda RC213V rider Cal Crutchlow the satisfaction of setting the fastest lap on his way to the second step of the podium.
With heavy rain intermittently hitting the Sachsenring into the afternoon, the MotoGP race was declared wet and teams prepared for the high probability of another flag-to-flag GP. The choice of a front Michelin rain super soft, the same tyre chosen by almost the entire grid, didn’t prove to be the best one for Marc, who progressively lost ground from the front in the first phase of the race, dropping back to ninth position after an excursion in the gravel in turn 8. But the track was drying, and Marc had planned a strategy with the team for such a case: switching to slick tyres as soon as conditions were safe enough to allow it. And so he did, entering the pit and changing bikes on lap 18. He was careful in the first few laps after that but quickly began recovering ground and positions from 14th place. The Spaniard was already sixth and chasing the front riders when they pitted to swap bikes. It was on lap 24 that Marc, second at that point, quickly overtook Jack Miller and assumed the lead in the race, finally crossing the line with almost a 10 second advantage on runner-up Crutchlow.
Dani Pedrosa was able to maintain a fast pace in the first and wetter part of the race, recovering ground from tenth on the grid to sixth before changing bikes on lap 22. He re-entered the race in ninth and overtook Hector Barbera, Miller and Valentino Rossi to score a solid sixth-place result.
With today’s win, Marc extends his leadership in the Championship to 48 points over Jorge Lorenzo and 59 over Rossi; Dani, fourth in the standings, reduces his gap to Rossi to 15 points.
“At a certain point today, I thought my run at this circuit was going to come to an end, but in the end we succeeded and earned a very good result, especially considering how Valentino [Rossi] and Jorge [Lorenzo] finished the race. I’m very happy with how we worked with the team today: they did a great job preparing my bike after my crash in the warm-up, and then in the race our strategy proved to be perfect. It was a very difficult race, with it being flag-to-flag and the track conditions so delicate. In the first part of the race, in the wet, I found things a little difficult. I had picked the wrong front tyre for my riding style, but I was able to switch to slicks. I was very careful in the opening laps after changing bikes, because the dry line was very narrow and there was still a lot of water on the surface. It’s always very difficult to decide when to change bikes, and perhaps we made our switch very early—I think I was the second rider to do so—but I decided to take a chance and it went well. We end the first half of the season with our homework done and off the back of a good race, but we must not forget to prepare well for the second half of the year.”
“I wasn’t feeling super-strong in the wet today, not like in this morning’s warm-up. I had chosen the front super soft tyre and I didn’t expect the track to dry so quickly. I tried to keep a constant pace and not make mistakes. Unfortunately, when I made the swap my feeling in the dry wasn’t the best until I get some temperature in the tyres, but at least I managed to make a few passes and finish sixth. I would have liked to do better, but we must to stay focused and prepare for the coming races.”
Andrea Dovizioso steps onto the German GP podium with third place at the Sachsenring. Fifth place for Andrea Iannone
Andrea Dovizioso powered to a third place finish in the German Grand Prix, which was held today at the Sachsenring circuit. His team-mate Andrea Iannone finished the race in fifth place.
The ninth round of the season got underway following copious morning rainfall and all riders opted to start with rain tyres on the wet track surface. When the lights changed, Dovizioso got off the line well and moved into the lead on the third lap, but he was then passed by Danilo Petrucci (Pramac Racing Ducati), whom he followed until lap 10. After the crash that put an end to Petrucci’s race, Dovizioso took over the lead again followed by Rossi, and stayed in that position until lap 22. The next time round all the riders in the leading group entered the pits to change bikes, seeing as the track surface was drying, and the Italian returned to the track with a rear slick tyre and a front intermediate, finding himself behind Redding. Dovizioso was then passed by Crutchlow but on the last lap he managed to overtake Pramac’s British rider and finish the race in third place.
It was a bit of a come-back race for Andrea Iannone, who started from the third row like his team-mate. The Italian, who crossed the line on the opening lap in seventh place, then decided to come into the pits to change bikes at the end of lap 13, while in eighth place. On returning to the track with intermediate tyres, Iannone moved back up the field lap by lap, and he eventually took the chequered flag in fifth place.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team # 04) – 3rd
“I managed to get off to a good start and immediately get into the leading group. After Petrucci’s crash, I took the lead again and concentrated on lapping quickly without wearing out the front tyre, trying not to turn into the corners abruptly and getting the bike back up out of the corners as soon as possible. The track was starting to dry out, but I stayed focused on the tyres and for this reason I missed out on the best moment to come back in and change bikes. Maybe if I had come in at least two laps before, we might have been celebrating the win. But let’s look on the positive side: we were at the Sachsenring, on a track where we have never gone well, and today we were in the lead for lots of laps. In the end we go back home with a well-deserved podium, which I want to dedicate to my team who have been working really hard.”
Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team #29) – 5th
“Today was a very complicated race. In the early laps I was lapping at the same pace as the leaders, even though I had some problems in acceleration, and as I had to make up in the corners what I was losing on the straight I began to notice some problems with the front. In some corners the steering tended to turn in on itself and I realized that I was taking too many risks, so I decided to slow my pace to try and keep the situation under control. At this point I opted to come in early to change bikes and we had a few problems in the pit-lane, but these are things that can happen with all the confusion, and probably the guys in my team didn’t expect me to come in so soon. When I returned to the track the surface was still very wet and I tried to limit the damage by not making any mistakes. In the end I took home a fifth place and some good points for the championship, all the while making up points on those ahead of me in the standings and this is important.”
Rossi Takes Eighth after Sachsenring Bike Swap
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Valentino Rossi fought hard today to take eighth place in what started as a wet race but saw rapidly changing conditions at the Sachsenring circuit. Teammate Jorge Lorenzo also increased his points total after a challenging GoPro Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland race weekend, finishing in fifteenth place.
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider Valentino Rossi fought tooth and nail today during the GoPro Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland and was in contention for the race win, until the gamble to swap bikes with nine laps to go held him back. He kept his head down and brought his YZR-M1 over the line in eighth place. Teammate Jorge Lorenzo took fifteenth place at the tricky Sachsenring race weekend.
Starting from third on the grid Valentino had a flying start off the line, quickly passing Hector Barbera to take over the lead from Marc Marquez going into the second sector. He put the hammer down and tried to clear off at the front but wasn't able to shake off his rivals Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci, who he had to let through in lap three, with Marquez following closely behind.
The Doctor kept his compatriots in front of him firmly in his sight and bided his time until, with twenty laps to go, Petrucci crashed out of the lead. Rossi made use of his experience and utilised every piece of wet tarmac available to cool his wet tyres as a dry line was starting to form.
What happened next was a flurry of activity with various riders coming in to change bikes over the second half of the race. In the midst of the chaos, Hector Barbera briefly overtook Rossi for second place, but the Italian fought back with 13 laps to go, while Cal Crutchlow and Jack Miller joined the group. Rossi was closing in on leader Dovizioso and with eight laps left the Doctor dived into the pits together with Crutchlow, Dovizioso and Barbera.
The Factory Yamaha rider rejoined the track in sixth place but gave up a spot to Barbera as he cautiously warmed up his tyres. His lap times dropped considerably over the last seven laps, but he was unable to defend his position and finished in eighth place, 26.449s from the front.
Teammate Lorenzo had a decent start from eleventh on the grid and tucked in behind Maverick Viñales keeping his position. He took tenth from his Spanish rival, and held this position until with 26 laps to go he was overtaken by Alvaro Bautista and Crutchlow while he was getting a feel for the quickly drying track.
As the wet tyres were heating on the drying tarmac, threats started to come from behind. Pol Espargaro, Aleix Espargaro and Viñales were on a charge and passed Lorenzo. He bided his time and as various riders came in and clawed his way up to seventh position, but had to give back four places as the slick and intermediate tyres came up to temperature.
The Yamaha rider came in to change bike six laps from the end, and reentered the track in 13th place. He had to let Aleix Espargaro and Bradley Smith through whilst trying to heat his tyres before picking up the pace and held 15th place over the line, 1'17.694s behind the leader.
With eighth place Rossi gained eight championship points, leaving him third in the standings, 11 points behind his teammate in second place. Lorenzo scored one point, increasing his total to 122. The gap to the championship leader is now 48 points.
MotoGP will be taking a four week summer break before continuing the season at the Red Bull Ring - Spielberg circuit in Austria on the 14th of August.
Massimo Meregalli - Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
"It's a shame that, much like the Dutch Grand Prix, the weather again influenced today's race results. Valentino's side made the right tyre choice at the start of the race, but the track conditions changed so rapidly during the second half of the race that it made the strategy to change bikes a bit of a lottery. Vale rode a really strong race on his wet tyres, but lost some time when he reentered the track and it's unfortunate that his result for today doesn't reflect how strong he was during the majority of this weekend. Jorge struggled to find a good feeling in today's mixed conditions and gave all he had to increase his points total in the championship standings. We will regroup and look forward to coming back stronger at the next race in Austria."
8th / +26.449 / 30 laps
"It's a great shame for us, because I was competitive on the dry and under normal conditions I could have done a good race. I was also competitive in the wet, so also in a normal wet race I could have fought for the victory, but unfortunately it was a half-and-half race. If I had stopped two or three laps earlier it would have been a bit better and I could have arrived in sixth place instead of eighth, but the bigger problem was when I restarted I was very slow. I had no feeling with the bike and I wasn't strong enough. Dovizioso and Crutchlow were with me and we stopped on the same lap, but they were able to arrive on the podium. It's a very big question mark if it would have been better if I had ridden on slicks. I had a very bad feeling on the intermediates, but nobody knows if I could have been faster with slicks, it also could have been worse. Maybe our bike in those conditions, when the track is really damp, is a little bit more difficult and gives less feeling."
15th / +1'17.694 / 30 laps
"After the warm up it was clear that we wouldn't be able to fight with the top guys in this race but at least I was better and faster than during the warm up. When the track started to dry I was losing positions because I didn't feel safe or had confidence in the front tyre, neither on braking or in the corners, and then I changed bikes when the team wrote on the pit board to come in. Maybe it was a bit too late this time for the best strategy to finish a bit more at the front in the classification."
BAUTISTA ONCE AGAIN RIDES HIS APRILIA RS-GP TO A TOP TEN FINISH
BRADL STOPPED BY A CRASH IN WARM-UP
ALBESIANO: "GREAT JOB FROM ALVARO AND THE TEAM, TOP-10 IS ALWAYS OUR GOAL"
At the end of a race complicated by weather conditions, but managed skilfully, and perfectly assisted by his team, Alvaro Bautista rode his number 19 Aprilia RS-GP once again to a top ten finish, leaving the German GP with tenth place.
The race started in very wet track conditions, although it had just stopped raining. After a good start and an authoritative comeback on the group, Bautista settled solidly into the positions battling for the top ten after starting from the eighteenth spot on the grid. The gradually drying track forced all the riders to change bikes. Alvaro jumped onto the RS-GP with intermediate tyres nine laps from the end, after moving up as far as seventh place. Back on the track, he joined the group battling for sixth place that also included Pedrosa, Miller, Rossi and Barbera. A drop in performance by the intermediate tyres three laps from the end convinced him to “settle” for the position he was currently occupying.
The Aprilia Racing Team Gresini only had one bike on the starting grid at the Sachsenring because Stefan Bradl, who suffered a crash in the rainy morning warm-up, was not cleared to race as a precaution. Stefan crashed on turn seven and, after being checked out by the Mobile Clinic, he was taken to Chemnitz hospital for further tests. Nothing was fractured, but a concussion forced him to sit out for his home race. Stefan was released from the Chemnitz hospital and now he will have a few days of rest at home. His presence is obviously uncertain at the tests scheduled in Austria on the Red Bull Ring on Tuesday and Wednesday.
ROMANO ALBESIANO - APRILIA RACING MANAGER
“A race complicated by weather conditions that we managed very well, finishing in the top ten once again, which is always our goal, and where we were also battling with absolutely top shelf riders. Alvaro did very well in all the asphalt conditions and the team worked well. We could have done even better if Stefan had been in the race too because we could have used different strategies for the two riders. It would have been nice to see him in his home race, making a play for everything he could since he had shown very interesting signs during practice. I wish him all the best to recover soon”.
FAUSTO GRESINI - TEAM MANAGER
“We rode a brilliant race, including our strategy choices. Today we got very close to the group of riders who had always been far out of reach for us until now. Alvaro backed off only at the end because the tyres kept him from pushing all the way and he preferred to bring home this nice result. We did our very best and we are quite happy”.
“A complicated race. We started in the wet, but it wasn't raining, so the track was gradually drying out. I had a good start and, in those conditions, I managed to overtake several riders until moving up to eighth place. At a certain point, when the track was improving, the rain tyre performance began to drop, especially the front. I also tried to change my lines a bit, but I had no choice but to stop to change bikes. With the intermediates, the feeling was not perfect. We had done very little testing with them and both in terms of chassis and electronics I did not have an optimum setup for this type of tyre. In the race, though, on such treacherous asphalt, it is definitely not the best time to try to find the limit. The tenth place finish is in line with our goals. These are important points but more importantly, today we battled with very high-level rivals. There are still a few regrets, because if we had stayed in wet conditions we would have been able to do better, but the end result is decidedly positive”.
TOUGH SACHSENRING MotoGP™ RACE FOR SUZUKI ECSTAR
Team Suzuki Press Office – July 17.
Team SUZUKI ECSTAR’s Maverick Viñales and Aleix Espargaró scored in the points at today’s drama-packed German MotoGP™ World Championship ninth round at Sachsenring that saw both wet-and-dry conditions and a necessary pit-stop with nine laps to go to change to softer tyres when the racing-line dried-out. The end of the race saw Viñales in 12th place and Espargaró in 14th.
Both Spaniards had decent jumps on their GSX-RRs in the wet start from their second and third-row grid positions, but gradually lost places as the race progressed. But, in the middle of the 30-lap race, they began to climb-back through the field. They both made a pit-stop to change the bikes from ‘wet’ set-up to ‘dry’ before the two-thirds race distance, but could not quite get back the positions they lost before the chequered flag.
Team SUZUKI ECSTAR will now move to Spielberg, Austria, for a two-days of testing on Tuesday and Wednesday, as a preparation for the race that will be held there in August.
Ken Kawauchi – Technical Manager:
“Unfortunately this has been another difficult race for us. At Assen already we struggled in the wet, for this reason we got back to the factory and exploited the one extra week break to prepare some countermeasures for these kind of conditions. Then here, in Germany, the rain came only on Sunday, so we could try only a very few of them; and unfortunately they proved to not be as effective as we had wished. The problem we have is clear, and we are all aware of it, so we will exploit the summer break to further-develop some solutions in order to be better-prepared for the next time we find such hard conditions.”
“This has been a very tough race for me, the result is not satisfying at all and it means we are not yet competitive in the wet races. We still have to improve the traction, with these conditions I cannot push and be performing because I can’t find acceleration. It is a problem we have also in the dry, but there I can counterbalance with the riding, and on wet it becomes bigger and bigger, so it is hard to keep the competitor’s pace. The base-pack we have is really good, but this struggle with the grip is preventing us harvesting better results. I know Suzuki is working hard on this and I hope they can find some solutions soon, either with the electronics or with the set-up.”
“Today’s race has been very hard, we still struggle to find good traction and this prevents me accelerating properly. We need to better-understand and work-on the electronics; this morning in the warm-up the traction control was too weak and had a lot of spinning, so we tried to increase for the race, but eventually we went in the opposite direction and had a problem with too much electronics cutting the power. This is an issue we have to further investigate; we have been improving a lot lately on many aspects, but the electronics still have many grey areas to us.”
SENSATIONAL SECOND FOR CRUTCHLOW AT SACHSENRING
Cal Crutchlow sealed his first podium position of the season with a brilliant ride to second place in treacherous conditions at the Sachsenring in Germany. The LCR Honda rider had shown himself to be quick in all conditions over the weekend, but had frustratingly missed out in qualifying, and so started the race down in 13th.
The Brit had to set about his recovery in the rain, with a fully damp track meaning wet tyres were the only choice, however having gone with the harder front option, it took time for him to get up to speed. Once the surface began to dry, he soon started to pick his way through the field and as riders began to make their bike changes, Crutchlow lay in third.
Cal finally decided to enter the pits to switch onto a bike fitted with slick tyres with seven laps to go, and emerged in fifth. After scrapping hard with Andrea Dovizioso, he soon made it back up to third, before sliding past his compatriot Scott Redding with a lap to go. He safely crossed the line triumphantly in second place, to seal his best result as an LCR Honda rider so far, and celebrate with the podium champagne for the first time this season.
#35 Cal Crutchlow – 2nd
“It was so difficult to manage at the start, but we tried our very best as always. I think I’m one of the strongest guys in these conditions, and I have been one of the strongest all weekend, I just needed to do it in the race, and I managed to do it.”
“I should have come into the pits earlier, but I didn’t see my pit board, so I came in with Rossi and Dovizioso because they were leading. It was a case of settling for a possible podium or staying with the leaders, and I chose that.”
“I’m looking forward to a small celebration tonight with the LCR Honda Team, we deserve it so much and we can now go into the summer break and the remainder of the races so happy. I also missed my wife Lucy this weekend, it’s only the second race she’s missed in nine years, but she is set to give birth just before the next grand prix in Austria, so I can’t wait for that now.”
Scott ends up 4th after a stunning race. Petrux dominates 10 laps before crashing.
Octo Pramac Yakhnich once again creates great emotions.
Scott Redding is the protagonist of a stunning comeback after a bad start. Danilo Petrucci dominates for 10 laps leading the #GermanGP before a crash.
These are the high lights of Octo Pramac Yakhnich on a Sunday characterized by unstable weather conditions that forced the riders starting with wet tires and then change their bikes as the track started to dry.
Scott misses the start turning the first corner in twentieth but quickly realizes to have a great feeling with his Ducati Desmosedici GP. The British rider recovers positions lap by lap entering the pits in seventh place with 10 laps remaining. Back on track with intermediate tires, Scott managed to continue his comeback starting the last lap in second position. Unfortunately Crutchlow and Dovizioso (later returned to the pits and out again with slick tires) were faster in the last lap. For Scott the disappointment of a missed podium but also the satisfaction of an extraordinary race after his third place in Assen.
Petrux was awesome from the start. Started in fourth place, after a good battle with Marquez he can easily overcome before Valentino Rossi and Andrea Dovizioso and lead easily the race. On the tenth lap, unfortunately, he lost the front and the dream of a first MotoGP victory vanishes.
4th - Scott Redding
If someone had told me yesterday that I could finish fourth I would not have believed. It is clear: I'm sorry for not being on the podium for the second time in a row but I am happy for this race. I made a mistake at the beginning but I felt good on the bike and started to recover position. Tyre choice? This was the best option. There is no communication with the team during the race and this makes it difficult. And then when I left the pits the track was still too wet for slicks. I thank the whole team for the great job done.
DNF - Danilo Petrucci
It was great to be in front. We had chosen to use the front hard tire ìand it was the right choice because after a few laps the track began to dry. I was the only one in the group ahead with that rubber and Marquez and Redding who had done the same choice were struggling. I was trying to handle even though I had already taken a big risk. Then the front closed without any warnings. I'm very sorry for the team who did an awesome job. We were fast even in the dry and I would have liked to run in these conditions. However, I must say that we come out of this weekend with great confidence. We are on track and we have to continue like this.
Miller fights for podium in sensational Sachsenring MotoGP battle
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Jack Miller put up a tremendous fight for a second successive podium in a dramatic flag-to-flag MotoGP race at Germany’s Sachsenring today.
The 30-lap race commenced on a full wet track after torrential rain fell on the 3.67km track earlier in the day. And optimism was high that Miller would pose a strong podium challenge after he set the third fastest time in the pre-race Warm-Up session.
A stunning start and aggressive opening to the race rocketed the Australian up from 16th on the grid into fourth place on lap six.
He began hunting down Danilo Petrucci, Andrea Dovizioso and Valentino Rossi to contest the podium after his remarkable career first win in Assen three weeks ago when the track suddenly started to quickly dry.
Miller unfortunately missed the ideal window to change to his Honda machinery equipped with slick tyres, and he slipped out of contention for the top three. He was still able to set an impressive pace on Michelin’s slick tyres on a greasy surface and a stunning late charge almost saw him pass Dani Pedrosa for sixth place on the final lap.
Today’s seventh place though was his third successive top 10 finish to continue his impressive streak of form heading into the summer break.
Tito Rabat’s hopes of a third straight top 15 finish looked well on course after he’d perfectly timed his decision to switch to his second Honda RC213V machine as track conditions improved.
A top 10 finish looked within his grasp but a fall in the tricky conditions at the final corner forced him to remount and finish in 16th position.
Jack Miller: 7th
“It was a really good race and I can be happy with the result. But in all honesty I should have trusted my team more and come in earlier for the bike change. It’s a real shame I stayed out a little bit too long because I am sure I could have been standing on the podium again. It was a tough call to make and there was about seven laps to go and I kept thinking about finishing the race on the wet tyres. It was frustrating to see everybody come flying by me and I knew I had to come in and change. As soon as I went back out on slicks I just said ‘why didn’t I do this earlier?’ It was a big lesson for me to take on board but it was my first real flag-to-flag race and it is good experience for me. I still had a lot of fun racing at the front with the likes of Valentino and I nearly passed Dani on the last lap to take the top six. When I was out on the slicks at the end my pace was really competitive and that gives me a big boost of confidence for the future.”
Tito Rabat: 16th
“I am very disappointed with the outcome of today’s race. It was very difficult in the full wet conditions but I think I came in and changed bikes at the right time when the track was drying very quickly. I was pushing to try and fight inside the top 10 because today was a good opportunity to do that but unfortunately I crashed at the final corner. The fortunate thing is I escaped injury and now I can look forward to training hard in the summer and coming back strong at the Red Bull Ring in Austria.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“Jack put up another great fight in what were extremely difficult conditions but it was clear that he came in too late to change to the slick tyres. If he had come in three laps earlier then I’m sure he could have at least maintained his position in the top six and possibly fought for the podium again. Seventh place is still not a bad result and Jack is on a good run of form at the moment, which gives us plenty of reason to be optimistic that he can take another step after the summer break. It is a shame that Tito crashed because I think he made the bike change at the perfect time. He could have scored some decent points but at least he wasn’t hurt in the crash and we can look forward to the both of them testing at the Red Bull Ring this week in preparation for the next race. We’ve had an incredible win and some other positive results in the first half of the season, so the team is looking forward to a well deserved summer break before we carry on the fight in Austria.”
Smith perseveres at challenging German Grand Prix
Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Bradley Smith produced a determined performance at the gruelling ninth round of the 2016 MotoGP World Championship to finish in 13th position in front of 93,000 passionate fans. The young Briton kicked off his campaign from the fifth row of the grid and undertook a solid start as he set about climbing through the pack. However, during the opening lap, Hernandez ran into Smith which caused the Briton to lose his left knee slider and therefore drop to the back of the field. Yet, Smith remained resolute and eventually pitted just after halfway through the GP. Here, he changed to his second bike with intermediate tyres and replaced the knee slider before commencing his recovery charge. The 25-year-old rode at an impressive pace on the drying line, but despite his best efforts and due to the distance lost in the first part of the race, he eventually crossed the finish line in 13th.
On the other side of the garage, Pol Espargaro suffered cruel misfortune in the tough German Grand Prix, after falling on lap 18 after pitting whilst pursuing a potential podium finish. The young Spaniard leapt forward from 5th on the grid, before completing the opening lap in 8th. He quickly stuck into his rhythm as he fought in a fiercely competitive group as a dry line began to appear on the track and Espargaro opted to pit on lap seventeen and switch to his second bike. Yet, shortly after re-joining the race, the 2013 Moto2 World Champion fell at the second corner, which marks a disappointing close to a promising weekend.
13th / +1'03.129 / 30 laps
"It goes without saying that it was a tough GP, but I did the best that I could in what was a tricky day of racing for me. On the opening lap, Hernandez hit me and knocked off my left knee slider. This would have been an issue in the dry, but in the wet, where the sliders are thicker, it was even more of a challenge. I made the call to pit and change to the bike with the intermediate tyres at the correct moment. Yet, we also had to put a new knee slider on in the pit lane and this had a knock-on effect. When I returned to the track, we had already lost a lot of time so it was damage limitation and I recovered a couple of places. It was a frustrating end to the weekend because the team deserve more than three points and of course I want to be fighting for the top independent position. However, one positive that we can take away from this weekend is that I had good pace on the intermediate tyres and I was one of the faster guys for a period. At the moment, we can't seem to catch a lucky break, but I am fit and healthy as we go into the summer break so I will stay positive. I will work hard in the next three weeks in order to come back much stronger and therefore, be ready for the second half of the season."
DNC / -13 laps
"It's easy to admit that I am very disappointed about the race after the performance we have shown over the whole weekend. Unfortunately at the beginning of the Grand Prix, I didn't feel as comfortable as I did this morning because the conditions had changed quite a lot and the track was dryer. Therefore, I struggled a bit and lost a few positions in the opening part of the race. I was behind Marquez when we both decided to change bikes and I'm convinced this was the best strategy today, so in terms of tactics, I think we could have clinched second because Marc won the race with a huge gap. However, sometimes when you risk a lot and you are one of the first to do so, you take more of a chance than other people and mistakes can be made. Of course, it is a pity to close the first half of the season with our first DNF of the year, but at least we could keep 6th and the best satellite rider position in the Championship standings, which is our goal for the year. Now the calendar has three weeks off, but I won't have as much rest as the other riders because I am heading to Japan to compete in the Suzuka 8 Hours race."
Hervé Poncharal - Team manager:
“We didn’t finish the first part of the season in the way that we wanted to as it was one of those tricky weekends for us in Germany. Clearly, the conditions could have helped us a lot but we didn’t make the most of it. Pol did a great job in the beginning of the Grand Prix and he was in the right group, plus he pitted at the correct time, along with the race winner. We knew that he had played the game well and it gave us a clear advantage over the rest of the field. Yet, unfortunately, he got too excited when he left the pits and he had Marquez on top of him, so sadly he crashed and couldn’t restart the bike. There was a big gap from Marquez to second and I think there was a very high possibility of a podium. We haven’t had a rostrum with Pol yet, even though he always does his best, so it’s a big shame for both him and us. In addition, he could have been the best Yamaha by far because the others waited too long in my opinion. On the other side of the garage, I have to be honest when I say that Bradley wasn’t very lucky during the whole weekend in Germany. He seemed to be struggling in the early part of the race, so we expected him to pit earlier. However, when he did change to the bike with intermediate tyres, his pace was strong and he managed to claw back two positions, but this isn’t exactly what we wanted to achieve. This is a weekend to forget, but I am sure that the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team can have a better time at the next round. I want to thank to the whole team for their efforts and I hope everyone has a happy holiday so that we can all come back fresh and motivated in Austria.”
Barbera and Avintia Racing score a bitter-sweet ninth place
The treacherous conditions at the Sachsenring circuit prevented Hector Barbera and Avintia Racing from taking a great result in the MotoGP German Grand Prix today. After grabbing second place on the grid yesterday in dry conditions, Barbera showed during the morning warm-up session that he would be also competitive in wet conditions. After the start of the race, he was able to confirm the good feeling from the morning in the wet, and he was battling in the leading group. When the track started to dry, he pushed even harder to get second position behind Andrea Dovizioso and ahead of Valentino Rossi. With seven laps to go, Hector came into the pits to change his bike, and although his pace was also competitive in mixed conditions, he lost some precious positions and finished the race in ninth place. This is certainly still a good result, but a little bit bitter-sweet after fighting for the podium. All in all, the first half of the season was really positive for Barbera and Avintia Racing, with the Spaniard seventh in the standings and leading the Ducati squad.
Expectations were also high for Loris Baz before the race, as he showed a really good pace during the morning warm-up. But Avintia Racing’s French rider failed with the tyre selection for rain conditions, and once more when he changed bikes, so he was forced to stop again in the pits. Baz eventually finished 17th, and the positive part of his return weekend is that his foot was not a problem during the race.
Barbera and Baz will now move to Spielberg for a two-day testing session at the Red Bull Ring, venue of the Austrian Grand Prix on August 12th to 14th.
Hector Barbera - P9
“It was a crazy race, but at the end we were unlucky. After 15 laps the track dried out really quick and I always struggle in mixed conditions. While it was wet, I did my maximum and we were in really good positions, but then, when I changed bikes, it was not so positive. In the first lap I lost too much time getting the feeling, and the pace of the guys who changed before was much faster. Finally, I lost many places. Overall it was a positive race, we were closer than ever to the front, and the team did a fantastic job during the weekend. Yesterday we took second in qualifying and today we battled until the end of the race. It was a shame because we were not able to show our potential with a good result, but ninth is not so bad. We were competitive on the wet and also in the dry, so it’s just a matter of time to get an even better result. Now we go into the summer break seventh in the championship and ahead of the rest of Ducatis, so we must be happy”
Loris Baz - P17
“The race was a disaster from the first to the last lap. The track was supposed to wet more, but it dried out. We didn’t have the best front tyre for these conditions and I had to take many risks because I had no corner speed. I went in to change the bike, but after one lap I felt that it was not possible to run the rear slick, so I stopped again to change for an intermediate. Then I realized that the track was drying more and maybe the slick was the best option, but the track conditions were changing so quick, that it was not possible to make the right choice. At the end my pace was not bad, but I already lost two laps and it made no sense to take any risk. The only positive today was that I had no pain in my foot riding the bike, even though right now the pain returned. Now we go to Austria for testing, and I hope to learn something that can help us in the second half of the season, because the first half was the worst one of my career”.
MICHELIN FACES ALL CONDITIONS AS MARQUEZ GOES INTO SEVENTH HEAVEN AT SACHSENRING
Michelin saw its tyre range used to the full extent today at Sachsenring in Germany during the GoPro Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland as changing conditions produced an exciting race that was won by Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) after an inspired and brave pit-stop.
Heavy rain early this morning meant all riders started today’s 30-lap flag-to-flag MotoGP™ race with the latest MICHELIN Power Rain tyres. These two new compounds had been developed and produced after the last race at Assen, with originally a soft version being made available in this weekend’s allocation. When it was a likely situation with the weather forecast that it would be cold and wet on race-day, Michelin took the decision to bring the super-soft tyre from the factory in readiness for today. It arrived overnight and the riders were able to use it in this morning’s wet warm-up session to assess its abilities. When the race started, 16 bikes were fitted with the tyre that arrived today, with the other six on the soft version.
As the lights changed to signal the start, Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) made the hole-shot and led for the first two-laps before being passed by Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), who was subsequently overtaken by Danilo Petrucci (OCTO Pramac Yakhnich). Petrucci held first place for seven-laps before crashing out unhurt on lap-11 and Dovizioso inherited the lead on what was now a fast-drying track. A tremendous battle both with the elements and each other ensued, before riders started to come into the pits to change to their other bikes, which had tyres more suited to the track conditions. Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team) became the first rider to use MICHELIN Power Inters in a competitive situation and Marquez took a courageous, but ultimately calculated gamble to change to MICHELIN Power Slicks on what was still quite a damp track outside of the full dry line which had appeared. The decision was inspired and the Spaniard carved his way through the field to take a stunning victory, his seventh successive race win at Sachsenring across all classes.
The race for the other podium places certainly began to heat up after the bike swaps and the crowd of 93,213 were treated to great battles all the way through the field. Cal Crutchlow – also on slicks – (LCR Honda) produced a fantastic ride to take second place, along with the position of First Independent Team Rider. Dovizioso took third with a front inter and rear slick, as he just edged out Scott Redding (OCTO Pramac Yakhnich) on the line, after the Englishman had changed to inters. Iannone was fifth, followed home by Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) using slicks in sixth, with Assen winner Jack Miller (Estrella Galicia 0.0 Marc VDS) swapping to slicks to take seventh. Rossi crossed the line eighth on inters, with the top-ten being rounded out by the Hector Barbera (Avintia Racing) using an inter front and a slick rear in ninth and Alvaro Bautista (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) on inters in tenth. This spread of different tyre choices shows the wide-ranging way the Michelin rubber performed during the race.
MotoGP now takes a short summer break when Michelin will assess the data and performances from the first half of the season, before the paddock re-convenes for the next race of 2016, which will be at the Red Bull Ring in Austria on Sunday 14th August.
Marc Marquez – Repsol Honda Team:
“Today was certainly a good race to test the tyres! We started with the wets and after the experience in Assen, Michelin has improved the front tyre and it was working very well. I chose the extra soft at the start and it was probably too soft for these conditions, but that was my mistake to choose it. This was the first flag-to-flag race in these conditions – where we started in the wet and it dries. I was a little bit scared when I changed the bike, because to be on the slicks on the wet parts is really dangerous. It was an option to use intermediates, but for me it is better to go directly to a slick and I chose the best strategy. During all weekend I have felt good and it was great to finish with 25-points.”
Nicolas Goubert – Deputy Director, Technical Director and Supervisor of the MotoGP Programme:
“Firstly I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of the Michelin MotoGP team to express my deepest sympathies and condolences to the people of Nice after the tragedy there this week. We are a French company so have been deeply upset by what happened and were very moved by the minute’s silence that was observed by the Grand Prix family at Sachsenring today.
“As for the race I don’t know where to start. For us the weekend has been very challenging due to the extreme weather conditions, from a very cold track on Friday, to warm and bright sunshine yesterday and then heavy rain and changeable conditions today, we have had to cope with everything and we are very pleased with the results from all of our tyres. We saw the weather forecast for the weekend on Thursday and took the decision to ship in an even softer front wet than we had in the original allocation and that worked very well in the first part of the race. The riders then made different choices as they swapped bikes and we saw the Inters used for the first time in a race, so this will give use some valuable data. Marc’s decision to go to slicks was a very brave one and as we saw it was correct for him to do it. His ride in those conditions was one of the best I have seen. We will now re-group during the break and assess the direction in which we are going and how the tyres are working, so that we can continue to supply the best options for all conditions and all riders.”
CRUTCHLOW STARS IN GERMAN MotoGP WET-DRY DANCE
There are few circuits on the MotoGP calendar like Sachsenring. The annual trip for the series to Germany means capacity crowds, camber corners, climate inconsistency and the odd spot of carnage around the short, twisty and demanding layout. All those elements came together for the second wet Grand Prix of the season and on a slippery stage in which Marc Marquez triumphed for the seventh year in a row across all classes and LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow snared his first podium finish of 2016 and for over a year by earning second spot.
Germany ‘wet the head’ of a new five year deal to keep MotoGP in the bike-mad region of central Europe but the skies were not kind to the Sachsenring and the emblematic, controversial and immensely difficult Turn 11, christened ‘The Waterfall’, was aptly monikered for this ninth chase of the campaign.
Over 93,000 damp fans were left gripped by changing scenes. Danilo Petrucci led the opening stages of the thirty-lap sprint and on fully wet asphalt as Valentino Rossi hung in a group tussling for podium positions. Tyre choice was critical and with decent temperatures helping to dry the track - as the rain finally relented - a very thin dry line started to form. Suddenly the pitlane was busy. Riders dashed into swap machinery; the brave and bold emerging back on track with slick tyres and others with ‘intermediates’ that were still slower than the optimum rubber.
Crutchlow had already been barrelling through the pack and was in the quartet of riders going for the lead after Petrucci had earlier crashed and his bike caught fire. The Brit then swung into pit together with the entire front-running sect and while Marquez – some seven seconds a lap faster – blasted through, Crutchlow remerged to hunt down and overtake Scott Redding for second place.
“My first thought is that it’s great to have a podium but my second thought is that it's a shame I didn't win; Marc got lucky again! Seriously though, I felt great on the bike this weekend,” ‘35’ said. “We made a great job with the tyre choice when I finally pitted…but you always have that question mark afterwards: what if I had pitted earlier? I didn't look at my pitboard, I looked at the two guys in front of me who were [Andrea Dovizioso] Dovi and Vale [Rossi] and I knew they had the experience to be at the front in MotoGP and I followed them. I was happy where I was and with my pace; I felt I could pass them. Anyway it was a great job by my team. It takes balls to ride with slicks and I took advantage. It has been a difficult year so far and we know our bike has been difficult to ride but we also know Honda have been putting in a great effort, and in the last races we have been more comfortable on the bike and it is getting better. I hope in the second half of the year we can back up this result.”
Crutchlow celebrated, and will now head with most of the MotoGP grid to a two-day test in Austria next week (“I’m looking forward to going there and taking my Monster cans…”) before dashing home to become a father for the first time together with wife Lucy. “I left for here as late as possible and will get back as soon as I can,” he commented. “It was only the second time in nine years she [Lucy] has not been here and she works as hard for me as I do to win in MotoGP. It has been a tough weekend without her here but we are dead-excited to have our first baby.”
Rossi paid for his hesitation to switch motorcycles and also for the election of intermediates. The Italian still picked up points for eighth position. “It is a great shame because we could have been competitive in the dry and even today I thought we worked well for the wet and we should have been fighting for victory,” the Yamaha man said. “I was very slow on the intermediate tyre in the second part of the race when it was getting dry. If I stopped earlier then it wouldn't have changed a lot; maybe I could have arrived to sixth place. I had no feeling with the bike when I changed. If we could go back in time then it would have been interesting to try the slick but on paper the slick could also have been more difficult.”
With Marquez’s victory Rossi now faces a chasm of 59 points to the top of the standings. “I think it is very difficult,” the former multi champion admitted. “In these first races I did not take the amount of points I know I could have because I made some mistakes. The distance with Marquez and the top is very high but the championship is long and we need to work to be competitive and make the maximum.”
World Champion Jorge Lorenzo endured one of his hardest weekends in recent years. The Movistar Yamaha rider crashed three times during Friday and Saturday practice and qualification. “We lost our way a little bit…it is not normal that I make three mistakes,” the Spaniard said on Saturday evening. Faced with the second rainy race in a row Lorenzo lacked confidence with his tyres and set-up. He was another on intermediates as he managed to bring the M1 home in fifteenth meaning a difference of 48 points to his countryman in the MotoGP table. “The championship is not finished while we all have mathematical options to win,” he said, mindful that Germany only represents the midpoint of the 2016 term. “Anything can happen and we saw Marc crash in warm-up and he was lucky not to get injured. We have to keep positive and believe that this is possible. We have to recover the confidence and good results that we don't have. The last two races have been very bad for us for different circumstances.”
Monster Tech3 duo Bradley Smith (thirteenth but restricted by his left knee slider being knocked off) and Pol Espargaro (a crashee in wet conditions) had their own adventures in Germany.
Moto3, normally ‘the sauerkraut on the Bratwurst’ of the racing programme, was dominated by Malaysian Khairul Idham Pawi and was the first outing to plough through the slick tarmac and wet mist. Full props to Estella Galicia 0,0’s Jorge Navarro for staying on two wheels and reaching seventh position three weeks after breaking his leg. There was desperately bad luck for Niccolo Antoneli who fell on another rider’s spilt oil on Saturday and fractured his left collarbone.
Moto2 continues to provide a captivating spectacle as a championship dispute with five winners from the nine rounds so far. At the Sachsenring conditions blotted the formbook. Alex Rins crashed out, as did Sam Lowes and Franco Morbidelli’s admirable bid to win through the gloom was ruined by a double slip. Rins and Lowes trail world champ (and victor in Germany) Johann Zarco by 25 and 30 points respectively as Moto2 continues to mystify.
MotoGP heads into a three-week summer ‘pause’ with the prospect of a first trip to Austria this century up next on the slate on August 13-14.